Boris Johnson is like Donald Trump with a thesaurus, says Nick Clegg
Is Clegg still upset about being called a ‘lapdog’ and a ‘wobbling jelly of indecision and vacillation’ by Johnson?
Nick Clegg has made a strong bid for best insult of the referendum campaign so far.
In his first major intervention in the Brexit debate, the former Lib Dem leader argued that senior figures in the Leave campaign were trying to "distort their way to victory".
Clegg accused Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage of being "careless elitists" putting their goals ahead of people's livelihoods. But it was Johnson who was the receiving end of Clegg’s best barb.
"This debate is just too important for it to be decided by Boris acting like Donald Trump with a thesaurus," he said.
"Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Nigel Farage and the rest might be happy to treat this campaign as if they're in an Oxford debating society, using every trick in the book to try and distract and distort their way to history.
"Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are probably the only people who think their job prospects might actually improve if we leave the EU.”
As a former MEP and a one-time Brussels-based lobbyist who can speak Spanish, German and Dutch, Clegg has long been a committed Europhile. But that might not be the only reason why he was keen to land a heavy blow on Johnson.
Clegg perhaps remembers that Johnson compared him to a condom in 2014. Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC, the then London mayor declared: “Nick Clegg is to serve a very important ceremonial function as David Cameron's lapdog-cum-prophylactic protection device for all the difficult things that David Cameron has to do that cheese off the rest.”
Johnson then explained: "[Clegg] is a kind of shield. He's a lapdog who's been skinned and turned into a shield."
In the same interview, he also described Clegg as a "wobbling jelly of indecision and vacillation".
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